Ryanair has launched a calendar with a number of its perky stewardesses posing in bikinis, and, towards the back, a somewhat less flattering picture of a stewardess supposed to represent its main competitor, Air Lingus.
Answering the flurry of complaints from the usual suspects, Wilhelm Hamilton, Ryanair's head of North European operations told Dagens Media: "We're going to continue to fight for women's right to undress," adding that any proceeds from the calendar, sold on board Ryainair flights and online, would be donated to charity.
Interesting. I wouldn't be surprised if some fifty per cent of the world's non-religious population would support that fight, but will it sell airline tickets?
Now that I don't have any clients in the travel industry anymore (check my about section or Linkedin profile), I'm free to say I feel Ryanair is the airline industry's equivalent of public transport: I've often marvelled at how it has made the most colourful cross-segment of ages, professions and ethnic groups take to flying. No other airline has quite as diverse a group of loyal frequent flyers.
I can see how the 'campaign' will go down well with the two rows of rowdy football supporters usually seated in the back of the cabin, but I'm not convinced about the Imam and his family filling up the six middle rows; those excited souls part-taking in the pensioner association's first foreign excursion in the four front rows, nor the families with screaming kids seated inconveniently where they can't but help be the centre of attention.
In essence, I wonder if this 'campaign' isn't a bit 'off-target', but we all choose our battles in life, don't we Wilhelm?
Disclosure: I've helped Ryanair promote its route from Torp to Liverpool – taking care of the press side of staging a Beatles event in Oslo - back when I was a not-so-secret agent for the British not-so-civil service.
Update 15:55pm: Talking about the civil service, Spain's government-run Women's Institute is considering to take legal action against Ryanair, 'not so much because the pictures are sexual, but because there are no men in the calendar', writes Gridskipper (via Wikio)....